Real Estate News

RealtyTrac Twitter account mistakenly posts wildly NSFW tweet

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Outside of the occasional retweet of a news article that uses its data, RealtyTrac’s Twitter feed is fairly basic. The account tends to tweet once every 12 hours, posting at 6:45am Eastern and 6:45pm Eastern, every day.

RealtyTrac’s tweets are all generally the same, each sharing a link to the latest “RealtyTrac Daily,” a collection of relevant news stories, with the company’s nearly 57,000 followers.

But Monday morning’s tweet was a fair bit different.

As per usual, RealtyTrac’s Monday morning tweet included a link to the latest RealtyTrac Daily, but Monday’s edition featured a wildly NSFW (not safe for work) image and link to an equally NSFW adult entertainment website. The apparently inadvertant post highlights the complexities mortgage finance companies face while navigating social media — and using third-party vendors to help.

HousingWire captured a screenshot of the tweet, an edited (safe for work) version of which can be seen below.

RealtyTrac NSFW tweet edit

The tweet remained posted on RealtyTrac’s feed from 6:45am Eastern until approximately 10:45am Eastern, when RealtyTrac deleted it.

When asked how the tweet appeared on RealtyTrac’s feed, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said that the tweet was a mistake and the result of an automated service that the company immediately discontinued using.

“The post was most definitely a mistake and we apologize for that mistake,” Blomquist said in a statement to HousingWire.

“It was posted through an automated service that curates and posts content on the RealtyTrac Twitter feed based on activity of our followers and those we are following,” Blomquist continued. “Generally speaking this service provides content that is relevant to and appropriate for our audience, but we have deleted the service (as well as the Tweet itself) so as to avoid this happening in the future.”

Blomquist also said that going forward, all posts to RealtyTrac’s Twitter feed will be “reviewed by an actual person employed by RealtyTrac before posting.”

The issue appears to be a one-off for RealtyTrac, and the company said that its steps should prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future, but situations like this highlight the risks that companies face when using social media.

As this article from Forbes notes, these days, companies are often judged by their social media presence. A company like RealtyTrac doesn’t have the anywhere close to the level of social media engagement and vitriol that United Airlines does, but the company does still boast nearly 57,000 followers.

Luckily for them, RealtyTrac deleted the NSFW tweet before it hit a wider audience, however some number of their followers undoubtedly saw RealtyTrac’s NSFW tweet this morning.

So while the impact is contained, for companies, all social media posts are a form of advertising. Why else would “brands” be on Twitter or Facebook? It’s to reach their audience, whatever and whoever that audience is. 

Therefore, every company that trusts its social media presence to a third-party vendor or an intern runs the risk of an inadvertent (and potentially inappropriate) post. 

And every company is one bad tweet away from going viral for all the wrong reasons.

So what’s the lesson here?

Be careful with those tweets. The internet never really forgets.

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Ben Lane is the Senior Financial Reporter for HousingWire. In this role, he helps set a leading pace for news coverage spanning the issues driving the U.S. housing economy. Previously, he worked for TownSquareBuzz, a hyper-local news service. He is a graduate of University of North Texas. Follow Ben on Twitter at @BenLaneHW.

HW Housing Wire

sadminRealtyTrac Twitter account mistakenly posts wildly NSFW tweet